On Wednesday Comcast’s Neil Smit officially started his tenure as chairman of the board of directors for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA.) During a November NCTA board meeting, Smit was elected to succeed Glenn Britt, who has retired as Time Warner Cable’s CEO and chairman.
The mergers had been opposed by many in the cable industry, who fear that ongoing consolidation will only exacerbate the problem of broadcasters building their market power in an effort to extract ever-higher retransmission consent fees.
Verizon Communications Inc. says it will publish information on the number of requests for customer records it received from law enforcement agencies this year. The announcement Thursday from the largest U.S. cellphone carrier comes as debate over data-gathering by the National Security Agency intensifies in Washington.
If President Barack Obama follows even half of the recommendations urged by his advisory panel, the National Security Agency would significantly change the way it does business. The collection of U.S. phone records and the spying on other governments and their citizens would continue. But Americans' phone records would be held by phone companies, not the NSA.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday discussed the federal health care website, government surveillance and other issues with executives from Google, Twitter, Apple, Comcast, and several other leading technology companies. The White House said the meeting was focused on the administration's efforts to repair the HealthCare.gov website, but National Security Agency surveillance programs also were on the agenda.
Ruckus Wireless donated some of the Wi-Fi hardware, while Layer42 Networks donated access to its gigabit backbone. Ruckus estimates that this is now the single most extensive municipal Wi-Fi network in the U.S., and San Francisco has plans to expand access from along Market Street to other public areas.
Germany has asked European Union officials to consider restrictions that would prevent U.S. companies from processing commercial and personal data from customers in Europe. That could affect the flow of information and hurt U.S. businesses such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.
The Obama administration will continue the National Security Agency's surveillance programs and cyber command operations under the direction of a single military commander, the first move in advance of what published reports described Friday as limited changes proposed by a task force that deliberated for months in secrecy.
Two competing bills were introduced in the House Thursday designed to reform retransmission consent and other FCC rules. The one that has greater support thus far would obligate MSOs to create a tier of channels provided through retransmission consent agreements, and would give the FCC authority to block blackouts when retransmission consent negotiations break down.
Resolution 3675, authored by Chairman Greg Walden and Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA), passed with an amendment representing “a bipartisan compromise that presents the commission with a framework to bring additional transparency and predictability to the FCC.”
Comcast Corporation announced this morning that Alexander D. Evans would join the company this month as executive vice president, global corporate development and strategy. Evans will report to Michael Angelakis, who is vice chairman and chief financial Officer for Comcast.
Even as Silicon Valley's technology companies speak out against the U.S. government's surveillance methods, they are turning a handsome profit by mining personal data and peering into people's online habits. The industry's profit machine has become tarnished by revelations that the National Security Agency digs deep into the everyday lives of Web surfers.
Eight major technology companies have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter Monday to President Barack Obama (Image: AP Photo/Google, Connie Zhou, File)arguing for reforms in the way the U.S. snoops on people.
US Senator Kelly Ayotte has introduced legislation that would ensure that rural states get at least 75 cents for every dollar they contribute to the USF. The money is collected through telephone bills, but Ayotte says New Hampshire gets back only 37 cents for every dollar it sends.
Phone companies would have an easier time discontinuing traditional land lines in Michigan under legislation approved Thursday that supporters say recognizes technological change but critics contend could leave customers with less reliable service.
The prospects for updating the 1996 Communications Act seem to have improved with the endorsement of the idea of two key Congressman. Representatives Fred Upton and Greg Walden said that the update is desperately needed during a Google chat that was also attended by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell.
There has been a lot of regulatory activity since the FCC adopted its revised White Spaces rules in 2010, but not much marketplace activity. The FCC allows unlicensed low power transmitters to operate on “White Spaces”—TV band frequencies that are not being used by TV stations or other licensed transmitters.
Tom Wheeler said, “Spectrum is finite, and the FCC is charged with managing the airwaves that are used for commercial purposes. A key goal of our spectrum allocation efforts is ensuring that multiple carriers have access to airwaves needed to operate their networks.”
The Commission recently just designated as competitive dozens of markets in which Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks operate networks. Once a market is certified as competitive, municipal and/or state rights to regulate basic cable service rates are revoked. Last week, the FCC exempted Cablevision from the same regulations in nearly two dozen markets.
The world's largest e-commerce company said it's working on the so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project in its research and development labs. But Amazon says it will take years to advance the technology and for the Federal Aviation Administration to create the necessary rules and regulations.
Gov. Mark Dayton's administration announced Danna MacKenzie is the first executive director for the Office of Broadband Development, a division created last spring. The new office has a central role as Minnesota stretches toward a goal of ultra-fast broadband in every corner of the state. Minnesota's goal is 2015, but most people involved say that will be tough.
The chair of the Senate Commerce Committee has asked the FCC to not approve any merger deals among broadcasters while the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigates shared service agreements (SSA), in which broadcasters negotiate agreements on behalf of others in the same market, raising costs for local cable operators and their subscribers.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller is planning a bill that aims to give upstart online video services the chance to compete on an equal footing with classic MVPDs by guaranteeing their rights to content. Furthermore, online video distributors would gain standing to compete directly with established pay TV companies as MVPDs.
The FCC has determined that Cablevision will not be subject to community regulation of basic cable rates in about two dozen towns that the MSO serves. The FCC determined that the market is competitive in the communities specified by the MSO, making the company exempt from those specific regulations.
Tom Wheeler said that the Technology Transitions Policy Task Force—assembled by former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at the behest of AT&T and NTCA—will present a status update at the Dec. 12 Commission meeting. With that research in hand, Wheeler expects the FCC by January to draft an order concerning experimentation, data collection, and policy, legal and technical outlines for the IP transition agenda.